The Lord’s Prayer(s!)

Long tradition calls the Our Father “The Lord’s Prayer”, because Jesus uttered it in answer to a disciple who asked Him, “Teach us to pray.”

But there are lots of other “Lord’s Prayers”, and all of them teach us how to pray.

All 150 of them.

Yes, of course, the Psalms. These portions of Sacred Scripture are unique. They’re not there as narrative, prophecy, or wisdom as is the rest of the Bible. The psalter is the prayerbook of the people of God. It was thus for the chosen people of Israel, and it continues to be for the body of Christ.

That’s why the Church so urgently wishes us to pray the psalms in their liturgical form, the Liturgy of the Hours (aka Divine office.)

Pope Benedict calls the Psalms a “School of Prayer”:

The Psalms are given to the believer exactly as the text of prayers whose sole purpose is to become the prayer of the person who assimilates them and addresses them to God. Since they are a word of God, anyone who prays the Psalms speaks to God using the very words that God has given to us, addresses him with the words that he himself has given us. So it is that in praying the Psalms we learn to pray. They are a school of prayer…

…This is what happens with the prayer of the Psalms. They are given to us so that we may learn to address God, to communicate with him, to speak to him of ourselves with his words, to find a language for the encounter with God. And through those words, it will also be possible to know and to accept the criteria of his action, to draw closer to the mystery of his thoughts and ways (cf. Is 55:8-9), so as to grow constantly in faith and in love.

Just as our words are not only words but teach us a real and conceptual world, so too these prayers teach us the heart of God, for which reason not only can we speak to God but we can learn who God is and, in learning how to speak to him, we learn to be a human being, to be ourselves.

-from General Audience, June 22, 2011

If you don’t do it already, consider using those lazy summer Sunday afternoons in a lounge chair learning to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. There are at least 3 excellent mobile apps that save you the expense and trouble of using a print breviary. Give one of them a try.  See if these other Lord’s Prayers do what the Pope said they would: show you the Heart of God.

Daria Sockey


Daria Sockey is a freelance writer from western Pennsylvania. Her articles have appeared in many Catholic publications. She authored several of the original Ignatius Press Faith and Life catechisms in the 1980s, and more recently wrote five study guides for saints' lives DVDs distributed by Ignatius Press. She now writes regularly for the newly revamped Catholic Digest. Her newest book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, will be published by Servant Books this spring. Feel Free to email her at

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